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Jul 12, 2016



There are many flavors of mechanical keyboards - some are stiffer, some are lighter.

I'm a big fan of Cooler Master's Storm QuickFire Tk series, which I have in 3 flavors (Blue, Brown, and Green, which refer to color of the Cherry MX key stems) which I bought for about $65 each. I also have a Unicomp buckling spring keyboard, but for me the smaller ten-keyless keyboards reduces RSI.

There are other mechanical keys,too, such as the Topre capacitive keys (used in the Novatouch TKL and others), Alps, Romer, and more. The Logitech G-series is available in Red, Blue, Brown, and Romer-G

I can't stand Cherry Reds, which have a linear response (no break over), although apparently a lot of gamers love them.

Supposedly the Topres have a fairly soft touch and a long life, but I doubt you'll spend >$150 just to try them. Of my 4, the Cherry Browns have the lightest touch and are the most quiet, but still have some nice tactile feel.

The Blues are my favorite - still a fairly light touch, but more tactile feedback (and more noise).

The Greens definitely take more force to use; I kind of like them, but for more force, I prefer the buckling springs (which are quite noisy).

My guess is that your G-Series has Cherry MX blues, since they are the most popular.

Ralph Grabowski

Thank you for the overview of mechanical key systems. I went foolishly into the store, thinking they were all the same, and was puzzled by one Logitech keyboard was called Red, another Brown, when clearly they all were black!

Nancy Johnson, Cadalyst

I have a Logitech Illuminated Keyboard as well (model K740) that I use for writing and editing. I really love it; it's slim and quiet (good for taking notes during phone interviews and conference calls) and supports my fast typing. Unfortunately, I'm on my second one and am ready for a third because the scissor-style keys are not durable, and once they pop off are nearly impossible to replace.

FYI, I wrote an article early this year for CAD users who want to understand the basics of choosing a keyboard: http://www.cadalyst.com/hardware/input-devices/choose-best-keyboard-cad-27200.

Ralph Grabowski

I find I type even faster with this mechanical keyboard during telephone interviews now, but you are right: the clacking is annoying when on the phone!



IF the store has a return policy, and your keyboard does not have Cherry Browns, you might want to look into exchanging it for one with Cherry Browns (after trying them out, of course).

I have my Brown and Blue keyboards close to each other, and the Brown keys are substantially quieter. The touch is a bit different (I'd say close to a scissor-style); compared to the Blues, I'd say it's a softer with less noticeable break-over.

My old Thinkpads (T40, X61t) had the excellent IBM/Lenovo scissor-style keyboards and are still going strong, although they get a lot less use than they would from a CAD editor :) I liked them so much that I got desktop keyboard version, but it wasn't the same - I think partly the keyboard was too light, while on the laptop the keyboard has a bit of weight under it.

Ralph Grabowski

I'll try the brown one, after I get my head out from under the water


Small note: I meant to say the Browns are CLOSER to scissor-style (not "close to"); it's still a different feel, but they're closer than any other mechanical keys I've tried (Blue, Red, Green Cherries + buckling springs).

Jason Bourhill

Logitech website states the G610 has Cherry MX brown switches.

I've previously looked at gaming keyboards to make use of their macro keys for CAD. http://www.cadconcepts.co.nz/macros-in-cad-is-games-play/
This actually works very well, but on these particular style of boards I found the key spacing too compressed for typing.

I also prefer wireless.

Ralph Grabowski

The Logitech site shows G610 available with Brown or Red, and I am pretty sure I saw Red on the box before I threw it out (into recycling, of course).


Jason Bourhill

At those at the outer reaches of the Antipodes the choice is somewhat reduced


I first used a Microsoft split ergo keyboard after the OEM mechanical one I had used for years died late on a Sunday afternoon. I was working and the choice in one of the few shops open were cheap and nasty or the Microsoft split.
I like using it but have been locked into the style for desktop computing, find a conventional keyboard 'wrong'. What is odd is that doesn't seem to apply to laptops, can only put it down to the different key pitch.



The difference between Red and Brown should be pretty easy to tell - Reds are linear (have no "click"), but if you slowly press a Brown you can feel a little bump part way down (the tactile break-over; it's much more pronounced - and loud - in the Blues and buckling springs).

I've heard that Gamers like the Red's linear response; I've only tried a key I bought from Digikey; based on that, I don't like the feel at all.

I've thought about the supposedly ergonomic keyboards, but the problem is that they're not standardized, so it's hard to switch keyboards, they're often way too pricey, and they're not available in ten-key-less versions, which improves my ergonomics.

Ralph Grabowski

There is something in the brain that adapts itself to whichever keyboard we use long-term. In my Typing 9 class (1971), touch typing was called "the fingers memorizing the locations of the keys."

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